NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new problem for New York City’s incoming mayor.
Bill de Blasio is faced with figuring out a way to guarantee the safety of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly — men who have terrorists and others gunning for them — when they return to private life.
Billionaire Bloomberg can pick up the tab for himself, but, as CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, what about Kelly?
Kelly, like some others who have held the job, is expected to seek a city-funded task force of detectives to protect him in his life as a private citizen.
“It seems like a small price to pay for the service he’s given the city,” said Eugene O’Donnell, criminal justice professor at John Jay College.
Himself a former cop, O’Donnell said the NYPD’s Intelligence Division will have to do a threat assessment before Kelly gets a security detail. But given his work defusing post-9/11 terror plots it’s unlikely he’ll be denied protection.
“If it’s their judgment that he needs security who’s to say that that’s not the appropriate role?” O’Donnell said.
Providing security to outgoing officials is not without precedent. Former Commissioner Howard Safir got a 12-member crew to protect him when he left office. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani had 22 detectives protecting him, his wife and his girlfriend. The tab to tax payers was a cool $1 million. Mayor Bloomberg approved it.
And as for Bloomberg, he could also be in line for protection. He’s had death threats, including last summer’s Ricin attack, and his high-profile stance against illegal guns has also reportedly put a target on his back.
But the billionaire mayor, who serves for $1 a year, is expected to reach into his own pocket to pay for cops to guard him.
New Yorkers have mixed reactions about footing the bill for Kelly.
“He’s a high-profile guy and it’s absolutely necessary for him,” one person said.
“I don’t think so. He’s probably going to get another great job. He’ll have protection from them,” added Bernard Rashes of Fresh Meadows.
“I have no problem with that. I don’t want to see anybody get hurt and he’s a high -profile individual,” said Oster Bryna of Cambria Heights.
“I think he knows how to protect himself,” added Bello Weinberg of the Bronx.
The NYPD refused to comment on security for Kelly and Bloomberg. It is a matter of policy to keep security measures private.
The actual decision to assign detectives to the two men would be made by the next police commissioner and Mayor-elect de Blasio and are re-evaluated after six months.
The tab for each detective is said to be about $120,000, Kramer reported.
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